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12 These pleasures, after all, have their value: and as the young are always too eager in their pursuit of them, the old are sometimes too remiss; that is, too studious of their ease to be at the pains for them, which they really deserve.
13 Secondly. Neither does happiness consist in an exemption from pain, labor, care, business, suspense, molestation, and “those evils which are without;" such a state being usually attended not with ease, but with depression of spirits, a tastelessness in all our ideas, imaginary anxieties, and the whole train of hypochondriacal affections.
14 For which reason, it seldom answers the expectations of those who retire from their shops and counting houses to enjoy the remainder of their days in leisure and tranquillity; much less of such as in a fit of chagrin shut themselves up in cloisters and hermitages, or quit the world and their stations in it, for solitude and repose.
15 Thirdly. Neither does happiness consist in greatness, rank or elevated station. No superiority appears to be of any account but superiority over a rival. Philosophy smiles at the contempt with which the rich and great speak of the petty strifes and competitions of the poor, not reflecting that these strifes and competitions are just as reasonable as their own, and the pleasure, which success affords, the same.
16 Our position is, that happiness does not consist in greatness. And this position we make out by showing, that even what are supposed to be the peculiar advantages of greatness, the pleasures of ambition and superiority, are, in reality, common to all conditions.
17 All that can be said is, that there remains a presumption in favor of those conditions of life in which men generally appear most cheerful and contented. For though the apparent happiness of mankind be not always a true measure of their real happiness, it is the best measure we have.
18 Taking this for my guide, I am inclined to believe that happiness consists,
I. In the exercise of the social affections. Those persons commonly possess good spirits who have about them many objects of affection and endearment, as wife, children, kindred, friends. And to the want of these may be imputed the peevishness of monks, and of such as lead a monastic life.
19 Of the same nature with the indulgence of our domestic affections, and equally refreshing to the spirits, is the pleasure which results from acts of bounty and beneficence,
exercised either in giving money, or in imparting to those who want it, the assistance of our skill and profession.
20 Another main article of human happiness is,
II. The exercise of our faculties, either of body or mind, in the pursuit of some engaging end. It seems to be true, that no plenitude of present gratifications, can make the possessor happy for a continuance, unless he have something in reserve--something to hope for, and look forward to.
21 This I conclude to be the case from comparing the alacrity and spirits of men, who are engaged in any pursuit which interests them, with the dejection and ennui of almost all, who are either born to so much that they want nothing more, or who have used up their satisfactions too soon, and drained the sources of them. Hence those pleasures are most valuable, not which is most excellent in the fruition, but which are most productive of engagement and activity in the pursuit.
22 Engagement is every thing. The more significant, however, our engagements are, the better ; such as the planning of laws, institutions, manufactures, charities, improvements, public works; and the endeavoring, by our interest, address, solicitations, and activity, to carry them into effect; or upon a smaller scale, the procuring of maintenance and fortune for our families, by a course of industry and application to our callings, which forms and gives motion to the common occupations of life ;
23 Training up a child ; prosecuting a scheme for his future establishment; making ourselves masters of a language or a science; improving or managing an estate; laboring after a piece of preferment; and lastly, any engagement, which is innocent, is better than none; as the writing of a book, the building of a house, the laying out of a garden, the digging of a fish-pond; even the raising of a cucumber or a tulip.
24 Whilst the mind is taken up with the objects of business before us, we are commonly happy, whatever the object or business be: when the mind is absent, and the thoughts are wandering to something else than what is passing in the place in which we are, we are often miserable.
25 III. Happiness depends upon the prudent constitution of the habits. The art in which the secret of human happiness in a great measure consists, is to set the habits in such a manner, that every change may be a change for the better.' The habits themselves, are much the same ; for whatever is made habitual, becomes smooth, and easy, and nearly indifferent.
26 The return to an old habit is likewise easy, whatever the habit be. Therefore, the advantage is with those habits which allow of indulgence in the deviation from them. The luxurious receive no greater pleasure, from their dainties, than the peasant does from his bread and cheese ; but the peasant whenever he goes abroad, finds a feast; whereas, the epicure must be well entertained to escape disgust.
27 IV. Happiness consists in health. By health I understand, as well freedom from bodily distempers, as that tranquillity, firmness, and alacrity of mind, which we call good spirits; and which may properly enough be included in our notion of health, as depending commonly upon the same causes, and yielding to the same management, as our bodily constitution.
28 Health, in this sense, is the one thing needful. Therefore no pains, expense, self-denial, or restraint, to which we subject ourselves, for the sake of health, is too much. Whether it require us to relinquish lucrative situations, to abstain from favorite indulgences, to control intemperate passions, or undergo tedious regimens; whatever difficulties it lays us under, a man who pursues his happiness rationally and resolutely, will be content to submit to.
29 When we are in perfect health and spirits, we feel in ourselves a happiness independent of any particular outward gratification whatever, and of which we can give no account. This is an enjoyment which the Deity has annexed to life; and probably constitutes, in a great measure, the happiness of infants and brutes, especially of the lower and sedentary orders of animals, as of oysters, periwinkles, and the like; for which I have sometimes been at a loss to find out amusement.
30 The above account of human happiness will justify the two following conclusions, which, although found in most books of morality, have seldom, I think, been supported by any sufficient reasons. First, That happiness is pretty equally distributed amongst the different orders of civil society. Secondly, That vice has no advantage over virtue, even with respect to this world's happiness.
Virtue. i The four Cardinal virtues are, prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice. But the division of virtue, to which we are nowadays most accustomed, is into duties, Towards God; as piety, reverence, resignation, gratitude, &c. To.
wards other men (or relative duties ;) as justice, charity, fidelity, &c. Towards ourselves; as chastity, sobriety, temperance, preservation of life, care of health, &c.
2 I shall proceed to state a few observations, which relate to the general regulation of human conduct; unconnected indeed, with each other, but very worthy of attention;-Mankind act more from habit than reflection.
3 It is on few, only, and great occasions, that men deliberate at all; on fewer still, that they institute any thing like a regular inquiry into the moral rectitude or depravity of what they are about to do; or wait for the result of it. We are for the most part determined at once; and by an impulse, which is the effect and energy of pre-established habits. And this constitution seems well adapted to the exigencies of human life, and to the imbecility of our moral principle.
4 If we are in so great a degree passive under our habits, where, it is asked, is the exercise of virtue, the guilt of vice, or any use of moral and religious knowledge? I answer, in the forming and contracting of these habits. There are habits, not only of drinking, swearing, and lying, and of some other things, which are commonly acknowledged to be habits, and called so; but of every modification of action, speech, and thought. Man is a bundle of habits.
5 Without entering into a detail of scripture morality, which would anticipate our subject, the following general positions may be advanced, I think, with safety: 1. That a state of happiness is not to be expected by those who are conscious of no moral or religious rule. 2. That a state of happiness is not to be expected by those who reserve to themselves the habitual practice of any one sin, or neglect of one known duty.
The Divine Benevolence. 1 When God created the human species, either he wished their happiness, or he wished their misery, or he was indifferent and unconcerned about both.
2 If he had wished our misery, he might have made sure of his purpose, by forming our senses to be as many sores and pains to us, as they are now instruments of gratification and enjoyment; or by placing us amidst objects so ill suited to our perceptions, as to have continually offended us, instead of ministering to our refreshment and delight. He might have made, for example, every thing we tasted bitter; every thing we saw loathsome; every thing we touched a sting ; every smell a stench; and every sound a discord.
3 If he had been indifferent about our happiness or misery, we must impute to our good fortune (as all design by this supposition is excluded,) both the capacity.of our senses to receive pleasure, and the supply of external objects fitted to produce it.
4 But either of these, and still more both of them, being too much to be attributed to accident, nothing remains but the first supposition, that God, when he created the human species, wished their happiness, and made for them the provision which he has made, with that view, and for that purpose.
5 The same argument may be proposed in different terms, thus: Contrivance proves design; and the predominant tendency of the contrivance indicates the disposition of the designer. The world abounds with contrivances; and all the contrivances which we are acquainted with, are directed to beneficial purposes.
6 Evil no doubt exists; but is never, that we can perceive, the object of contrivance. Teeth are contrived to eat, not to ache; their aching now and then is incidental to the contriyance, perhaps, inseparable from it; or even, if you will, let it be called a defect in the contrivance; but it is not the object of it. This is a distinction which well deserves to be attended to.
7 In describing implements of husbandry, you would hardly say of a sickle, that it is made to cut the reaper's fingers, though from the construction of the instrument, and the manner of using it, this mischief often happens.
8 But if you had occasion to describe instruments of torture or execution, this engine, you would say, is to extend the sinews; this to dislocate the joints; this to break the bones; this to scorch the soles of the feet. Here pain and misery are the very objects of the contrivance. Now nothing of this sort is to be found in the works of nature. We never discover a train of contrivance to bring about an evil purpose.
9 Since then, God hath called forth his consummate wis, dom to contrive and provide for our happiness, and the world appears to have been constituted with this design at first, so long as this constitution is upholden by him, we must in reason suppose the same design to continue.
10 The contemplation of universal nature rather bewil. ders the mind than affects it. There is always a bright spot in the prospect upon which the eye rests; a single example,